Ips (indoor Positioning System)

DJ Sures

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For quite a few years, i've been mentioning that I have been working on a positioning system for ez-robots. I guess it's time that i share my tribulation with you, because the trails were far too many :). Should be ready to throw in the manufacturing facility for this summer's scheduled releases

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@DJ Just when I think you don't care about us annoying diy'ers you go and do something like this... You pulled another rabbit out of your hat.... this is fantastic you just might have out did yourself this time... :) Seriously good work...
Just shut up and take my money!

You know of course, by showing us this tease you have set yourself up for numerous posts about "when will it ship", as well as technical questions. In fact, I'll get some technical questions/suggestions started right now....

Can we identify known obstacles on the "map" so that when you tell it to navigate, it will attempt to go around them? Along similar lines, if we have obstacle avoidance (Ping/IR) will it continue trying to get to a destination as the avoidance works its way around obstacles?

Can you have multiple sensors in the same project so you can track a robot as it goes from room to room?

If you have multiple robots and sensors (in different projects/ maybe different PC's) can it distinguish between the transmitters so each robot can be individually tracked?

I assume it goes without saying that we will be looking for variables and control commands to integrate this into navigation scripts.....;)

Looks great! Looking forward to it

That's fantastic DJ! Dido to what Richard and Alan had to say. Where do you and your crew find the time with everything else you are doing? I'll add it to my shopping list of new products.
Thanks everyone

Alan, as usual, you're correct with assumptions.

1) as many ips can be added as you wish. They can overlap a well, such as for doorways between rooms or within large rooms. The view is about 170 degrees with special lenses.

2) way points are defined. So you specify target way points like your gps works. The way points can be stiff like "door way to kitchen" or "living room sofa", etc

3) as for navigating around obstacles. You highlight areas that the robot cannot drive. These are red zones, and the robot will never go there, such as sofas, walls, etc

4) you can also simply just click or use ControlCommand() to add temporary way points, like I did in the video

As for availability, ezrobot seems to have the best time throwing items in the manufacturing hopper near end of summer (early fall), such as we did with the /2 and IoTiny. All the new products that we have in the store will be popping out at the same time, including this.

They will be priced at less than $100 usd. The best suggested mounting place would be the top corner of a room where it can see everything. Otherwise use a tripod for portability.

The ips also has 8 digital io, audio and 2 adc... because half of the device is actually an IoTiny :). The other half is the ips.
Horay for the IPS . You said you would do it and at last its here. I have no clue about when you find time to sleep. Thanks DJ for coming thru.... We will all be patiently waiting for the release.. We know its here...
@DJ Re-post #9.... You have seriously out done yourself man... I am speechless (if you can believe it)... This is huge.... Microsoft cognitive services and now this? Why is anyone using ROS?:)
What an AWESOME feature for EZ Robot!
This should instill the importance of mathematics to kids.
If I didn't have a large house this would be awesome! If I wanted full home tracking I would have to blow $1500 on IPS boards!

I was wondering if the cameras can be used for standard tracking as well? Not just IPS purposes. Then you could track people throughout the room!

As well, what is the range for this? I would assume 20ft or so for accuracy but what's the exact number?
It never stops surprising me how fast the pace of EZ-Robots development is!
This platform is a treasure for all robot builders!

Could you consider another sneak peek in the future, ( if you get the time) of a short navigation script driving thru your office or front entry room? It would be great to see the Ips in action. Going around obstacles would be great.
This is fantastic, something like this would be great for an outdoor robot project to navigate around the house! :D
It's an "indoor positioning system". It doesn't work outside.
Dj, Just one question, is that a beacon on the top of the bot? or does it see the green color?
Oh i see, well for indoor its fantastic Dj Sures, and thanks for your reply, you and your Omnibot are the reason i'm here. : )
thanks D.J.
how does this sensor IPS communicate between the sensor and the robot?
I have not been active in the last year , but I own a first release hexapod robot and I would like to add this IPS system to it. Do I need any other hardware updates?
When can we pre order this IPS system?Do you have a link to preorder?
Thanks Neil


how does this sensor IPS communicate between the sensor and the robot?
IPS uses a camera(s) then communicates using Wifi via ARC... IPS is slated for release later this year...
I can understand how the camera can detect objects like furniture, but how does it know the robots position?
how could it know the difference between a moving pet or person?
how does it detect the robot when it is not mobbing, or can not mobe for some reason?
The robot is marked... the camera is looking for the robot's mark in order to track it
Close, but no.

The colored tape on the robot is not the marker. The IPS sensor has two cameras. The robot has an IR transmitter with a special frequency. The IPS sensor matches the IR beacon. Then, there's a year of math that calculates and determines the direction the robot is facing. And then a bunch more that figures out how to get the robot to move to way points. and some more.. and some more..
@DJ I just re watched the video and just realized that a minute ago... I now see the ir beacon....
Yeah, the colored tape is just holding the beacon on because we don't have an ez-clip for it yet
ah, makes sense..
since my hexapod is just plain white plastic as shipped from the company, what are the marking requirerments?
can the mark ve customized?
since I have camera already, will this app program ve downloadable into the hexapod v4 series 1 controller?
this would make a very interesting experimental movile platform.
your answers also suggest that distances are not determined , but rather by the software noting the time taken to travel vetween two objects, and estimated the remaining time to another object
Marking requirements are as such..

1) Place EZ-Bit IR Beacon on robot

2) Aim IPS at room on a tripod or mount in the corner by ceiling

3) Load ARC and IPS control

4) Everything else is magic...
Here's more videos of the IPS in action. I don't have ControlCommand() setup yet, but that's easy to add once I'm happy with smoothing out more of the algorithms.

Dj, Thanks for the two demos. It is GREAT to see it in action. I was able to see the beacon better in these videos.

I can see you still enjoy playing with it... It's development had to be frustrating at times, but it is paying off..

I look forward to the map function with a control command. It will be neat to tell it where to go and it goes there.
This will work with any robot that uses a movement panel
I have this on my list!
Looks amazing!
@DJ, will the Ips be battery operated or have that option? Would be great for positioning in places were no power outlets are near.
Great work by the way!
Thanks for the additional demos . I have been thinking about this IPS and have an idea to share.
First, I want to share with you my motives for the sugestions below. I am blind and handicapped. I think robotics can help us and many others.
Your IPS relies on a given area being set up with fixed IPS sensors or a portable sensor set up and then confifured prior to the system being useful for the blind.
Now concider this idea. Let's revise the location of the IR beacon and the IPS sensor.
The beacon sensors can be very low cost and can be purchased in large quantities . These can be placed into any room that a blind person enters quickly.
Having the IPS sensor either affixed to the person or wheelchair will then offer the following features:
1 It will provide instant obstical detection in the immediately area.
2 by finding a IR beacon which has been affixed to a wall ETC..., it then can pervade your full IPS software features simply by having you reverse in software the default positions of the beacon and IPS sensor.
3 as the person moves into areas that are not mapped, any previously mapped prohibited objects will continue to be off limits as the map "rolls" to adjacent areas.
4 This would allow your robotic offerings to now enter an additional market segment.This blind and handicapped features would be unpresidented in situations where the person must be outside his or her normal environment. An example of this might be a hospital room, hotel room,conference or study room.It could also be useful when a blind or handicapped person tries to navigate around a food store. We could add the location of a persons favorite foods to the map.
Please let me know your thoughts.
thanks Neil
Those 2 new videos are very informative and what a wonderful new hardware and software plug in. I am actually supposed to be working on other stuff on the Internet but this IPS system has all my attention and I just keep wanting more info,LoL!:D

That is a great use case. I was thinking about making a similar suggestion of having a beacon on a person and the robot able to have the sensor so that the robot can follow the person with much better positive recognition than color, glyph, or face (better range, less error). Your idea takes this from a personal desire to have a robot that can follow me like a well trained dog to a whole new market segment (although having an assistive technology robot able to follow you also fits within that segment).

Even if this is not something that can easily be adapted from what DJ has done with IPS, it is something to get the thoughts flowing on how we could achieve it.

Yes this could be great to get the robot to follow us around the house or possibly in the future adapt it for outside or anywhere. For now, I am just happy that it can locate the doors and not hit any furniture! Alan, it reminds me of a great recent movie "Robot World" --A pilot is sent across the galaxy through a new device. His mission is to orbit and reconnoiter a planet before returning home. The planet is known to be populated by intelligent life. Once at his destination,the pilot becomes marooned on the alien planet and soon discovers the planets only inhabitants are predatory machines. " Ha ha...great film and the robots do exactly as Alan suggested they follow the pilot with his luggage like a military work horse.
I am wondering if the beacon can be put on anything that moves? Does it have to be on a robot with a movement panel? If not then perhaps it could be attached to a person and work as Antguru suggests. We need more input from DJ on this.
I could also see it working, although in a more limited fashion, keeping the stationary sensor, but being able to recognize multiple beacons, where you tell the robot to always follow the other beacon at a set distance. With enough different ARC instances and distinct beacons you could do some interesting coordinated actions between different robots.

I am glad that some of my thoughts are valued. However I need to make one point quite clear.
For this to work for a blind or handicapped person, the IPS sensor must be attached to the person or wheelchair. The beacons which can be very low cost and light in weight can be purchased in quantily and affixed were needed very quickly. This would not be the case if the IPS sensor was mounted permently .
Imagine a blind person walking around without a blind cane,just by wearing a special head cap. of course we would know that in the cap would be the IPS sensor, and attached to the TINY controller which is part of the IPS sensor would be a audio output or morse code beper .This audio output would then warn the person of objects and best route to desired waypoints.
Also, Multiple selectable beacons could allow the sensor to drive a handicap scoter or wheelchair to a location by a verbal command? Beacon at specific locations with the IoTiny control portion of the sensor on the vehicle operating motors?
@DJ Sures, I just want to point out, that if what you deliver is exactly what you demonstrated and no more, I at least will be grateful. It is just that the idea that this is possible has sparked all kinds of additional ideas in this creative group, so we are all brainstorming what might be possible with the technology.

Ditto. I'd be very happy to buy the system as described

Excellent work!
I added a new feature inspired by the comments, called g.e.n.i.e. Simply rub the ips and a genie appears, granting you a zillion wishes:)
Hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa! I'll get it just because of this feature!:D
@DJ LOL:) I knew you were going to say something like this. I saw it coming... That's one of the funniest things you have said... The DIY'ers are just never happy no matter what you give them...
Dj, Thanks for the Gold... as always !


I added a new feature inspired by the comments, called g.e.n.i.e. Simply rub the ips and a genie appears, granting you a zillion wishes Smile

I did warn you that an early tease would open you up to this kind of thing;)

It has inspired some interesting discussions even if they are outside the scope of what you envision for this product.

I'd still like to know if the beacon has to be on a robot with a Movement Panel or can it just be connected to an EZB and place on something that moves. Like a JD, human or a wheelchair.
Well @bhouston, as long as the JD, human, or Wheelchair has a Movement Panel you'll be fine! ...weeelllll.....the human might be a bit tricky to interface to a movement panel...lol.

I definitely love the brainstorming that's going on and the ideas you guys are throwing out there but the way the IPS currently operates does need a movement panel.
@Jeremie... Personally I am holding out for the J.E.N.I.E plugin that @DJ was most certainty alluding to...:P
Thanks for that answer Jeremie, that was a question that a few people had.
@Richard R oh me too, me too. We all know @DJ is a magic man, I want to see him make some Robin Williams style genies pop out of my computer:D

@bhouston no prob;) but sometimes I feel bad posting some answers on here as the brainstorming and speculation seems to come to an end. I ruin all the fun lol.
Ok all joking aside... We really need to get our hands on the IPS first to see what it can do for ourselves before asking for additions or changes.... Here's the thing that possibly some people forget about ARC. The control offers a certain amount of functionality built in so we don't need to write much code if any to use it... However scripting offers way more flexibility beyond the control itself... If the IPS is like every other control in ARC we will have the flexibility to script what we want. This would be some degree over and beyond the core function of the control... Brush up on your scripting skills because I think the IPS will deliver...
I like D.J. :Dsolution... well I habe the cash ready to preorder the ips...
how do we enter the pre-order?
it will make a nice christmass 2017 present to me from me
The IPS looks amazing and I will be happy when it is ready to ship!
Will be great to guide a bot to a re-charge station, or for my house there is a small step which divides the living room which it could not go over, but with a small ramp for that step the IPS would guide it straight over that ramp...lovely. : )
@antguru... No pre-order anymore for ez robot products.... It's only when it comes out in the store will you be able to purchase it...

Any preference for the tripods to be used with the IPS System? Is there any particular suggested height for the tripod in order for the IPS Sytem to work properly. I was thinking a regular camera tripod would work and I think the height is somewhat adjustable on some of them. Any thoughts on this are much appreciated....Rick
Tri-pods are great, when collapsed and sitting at their lowest height, they don't take up much room.

Mini tri-pods are great also, they would work great for an IPS station.

How big will the IPS be? Maybe those tiny handy cam tripods would work well? : )
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I think the higher up the better.
I would go with a larger tripod or mount it near the ceiling in the corner of a room.
It needs a good view of the floor.
Might be able to make a robot that can pick up objects from the floor and place them where they are needed.
Yep i was thinking either ceiling or wall mount also.

Do you have any idea of what the dimensions may be?

Was just re-reading the first page, as Dj points out, high wall mount, top corner of the room so it has the best view, or tri-pod for portability. : )
So....a ..... what's the status on this product?
This is a small step for DJ. A giant leap for EZ-Robot.